This past winter break, Emory dancer Patsy Collins attended American Dance Festival's Winter Intensive in New York City. This was a 10-day program hosted by The Ailey Studios, and was comprised of daily classes in modern technique, improvisation, composition, somatics, and dancehall. She also partook in discussion with movement professionals, and attended several performances as part of the intensive.
Read on to find out more about her experiences!
*Responses have been edited for length and clarity
Why did you decide to pursue a movement intensive this past winter break?
I decided to pursue movement study this past winter because I wanted to push myself to absorb as many opportunities for growth as possible. As I become more involved in the dance community here at Emory, I increasingly appreciate the importance of constant immersion in this field, and not only in a physical sense. At ADF, in addition to dancing, I was able to view dance, create dance, discuss dance, and write about dance. It truly was a full immersion in an environment where I could explore my physical and mental boundaries as a mover.
What are some takeaways/insights you have from this experience?
One major insight that I feel I developed from this experience is the importance of reflection. Journaling was an important part of ADF’s program this winter, and this has motivated me to keep a movement and a choreographic journal of my own, which has been an incredible guide for my improvement as a mover. I am choreographing a work for Emory Dance Company this semester, and have also led guided written reflections with my casts, in the hopes that these reflections will allow them to strengthen their connections with my movement and concept of the work.
Why do you think this was a valuable experience, and how will you apply it to your studies here at Emory, and in your future post-graduation?
This experience will be forever valuable. Dancing on the sixth floor of the Ailey Studios in Manhattan New York, while absorbing knowledge from wonderful movers like Nia Love, Leah Cox, Jesse Zarrit, Ephrat Asherie and Elisa Clark was amazing. The daily schedule was so enjoyable and physically beneficial. We began our early mornings with a discussion, and would break off into several movement classes throughout the day, separated by lunchtime discussion where we were able to hear from and meet with representatives from movement organizations such as Gibney Dance and Movement Research. The ability to see Alvin Ailey and Dorrance Dance perform was also a gift, as well as the opportunity to see additional shows or attend classes outside of ADF, since New York City is a budding hub for movement practice.
Would you recommend this program (or similar ones) to other movers, and if so, why?
Yes, I would recommend this intensive and similar ones to fellow movers. I believe that as students we often take our seasonal breaks and summer vacations for granted. Spending my winter break dancing in New York and learning from some of the most innovative movers of our time was my definition of the perfect break, a place where we can move and grow uninhibited by my other student responsibilities. This opportunity was instrumental for me, and I would encourage any mover to pursue any and all opportunities like this one if they are able to. The Emory Friends of Dance mini-grant program helped me attend this intensive, something I never could have imagined myself capable of a few years ago. I am incredibly grateful for this program, and the faculty and students that make it a privilege to be a part of.